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Your Place: What Recourse for Rain Damage in Basement?

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By Alan J. Heavens

rain_damaged_home(MCT)–Question: My son and daughter-in-law purchased a twin ranch home with a finished basement in the Northeast in September.

Recent heavy rains invaded their home and caused a great deal of damage to the back wall in both the basement and the bedroom above. They called an adjuster, who cut out the damaged walls and removed carpet, and brought in fans and a dehumidifier.

All materials were saved for the insurance company to see. The adjuster said he would file the insurance claim for them, and that potential causes of the water intrusion could be the bedroom window and the back patio, put in by a previous owner.

My concerns also include damage lurking behind the remaining walls that we cannot see, and present and future mold issues because the basement is also my grandson’s play room.

How should the cause of this water problem be investigated?

Do they have any recourse from the home-inspection company they used, at least for their insurance deductible? Do they have any recourse from the previous owner’s seller’s disclosure?

To me, it seems something was missed somewhere, and they are left with a very expensive problem, as well as being heartbroken. What can they do?
Answer: Until you have incontrovertible proof the problem was caused by the previous owner’s remodeling, I wouldn’t start pointing fingers. The winter was very hard, and a 5-inch rainfall over 12 hours can introduce problems where there were none.

The prior owner might not have had a clue. And a home inspector can report only on what he or she sees, and won’t recommend that you hire an expert to look behind walls unless there is evidence that you should.

Mold is an issue that needs to be addressed because of your grandson, and your kinfolk need a certified mold-inspection firm to investigate.

If there is mold and evidence shows it is a longstanding problem, the inspector should be able to determine the source of the water intrusion. If there is a longstanding problem that was not disclosed, a lawyer is the next step.

©2014 The Philadelphia Inquirer
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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